Marinol is a trademarked brand name owned by Solvay Pharmaceuticals for the prescription drug dronabinol, which contains the main psychoactive substance in marijuana. The FDA has approved the drug for two indications: to reduce nausea and vomiting in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, and to increase the appetite in patients who have lost significant weight due to infection with HIV/AIDS. Obtaining Marinol legally requires a prescription after consulting with a doctor about either of the two conditions.
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- Doctor's prescription
Talk to a doctor about Marinol if you are receiving chemotherapy treatment for cancer or have experienced significant weight loss and decreased appetite as a result of living with HIV/AIDS. Know that a physician will conduct a complete evaluation of your medical condition, including verification of the conditions for which Marinol may be prescribed.
If you are undergoing chemotherapy, tell your doctor if you are experiencing extreme discomfort from nausea, vomiting and other issues associated with the treatment. Quality-of-life issues are considerations for the prescription of Marinol to ease suffering and will increase the likelihood of getting a prescription.
Explain significant weight loss and low appetite to your doctor, who can conduct body-mass tests to determine if your weight loss is sufficient to warrant a powerful appetite stimulant such as Marinol. There is no specific weight loss that would automatically spur a decision to prescribe Marinol, as that is an issue unique to each patient, but receiving a prescription is more likely to occur if the physician perceives health risks associated with significant loss of weight. Marinol has been clinically shown to boost appetite for 24 hours after taking a dose.
Take prescription Marinol as directed by your physician. The drug is taken orally in gelatin capsule form, in dosages of 2.5 mg, 5 mg, or 10 mg of dronabinol. Marinol can cause dependence with prolonged use.
Use caution until you are accustomed to the effects of Marinol. Effects of the drug can be felt within a half-hour of taking the pill, reaching peak effect at 2 to 4 hours. The psychoactive effects may last 4 to 6 hours. The manufacturer recommends people taking Marinol not drive or operate machinery until they understand how the drug affects them.
Tips and warnings
- Be aware that Marinol is a synthetic version of delta-9-THC, the principal active ingredient in cannabis (marijuana). As such, Marinol can produce many of the same heightened consciousness effects associated with the high obtained from marijuana use, including euphoria, elevated mood, and easy laughter.
- Tell your doctor if you have any known allergy to cannabis or sesame oil before using Marinol.
- Avoid driving or operating machinery until you are confident you can tolerate Marinol and are safe to drive or use equipment.
- Adverse reactions seen in clinical trials of Marinol include stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, paranoia, sleepiness and abnormal thoughts.
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